Beyond heroes and victims: Filipina contract migrants, economic activism and class transformations

Katherine Gibson, Lisa B Law, Deirdre McKay

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This article employs anti-essentialist Marxist analysis to shed light on the diverse economic activities that Filipina contract migrants are engaged in at home and overseas. We point to the limitations of dominant representations of these women as 'heroes' of national development or 'victims' of a global capitalist economy, which tend to foreclose a discussion of multiple class processes engendered by transnational labour migration. In drawing on a fluid theory of class, we investigate how contract domestic workers are involved in multiple class processes that allow them to produce, appropriate and distribute surplus labour in innovative ways. We also discuss the activities of the Asian Migrant Centre, a non-governmental organization working with domestic workers in Hong Kong, whose efforts to inspire the entrepreneurial aspirations of these women reflect the importance of recognizing migrant workers' multiple economic identities. This analysis has implications for how we imagine the agency of contract workers, as well as the performativity of research and advocacy work.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)365-386
    JournalInternational Feminist Journal of Politics
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


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